Trainer Bob Baffert to enter two in Preakness

Trainer Bob Baffert to enter two in Preakness

Concert Tour to join Derby winner Medina's Spirit in second leg of Triple Crown

Photo of Tim Wilkin

Kentucky Derby winner Medina's Spirit won’t have to look too far to see his main competition in the May 15 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. All the 3-year-old has to do is take a look outside his stall and glance down the shedrow in trainer Bob Baffert's barn at Churchill Downs.

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He’ll see stablemate Concert Tour poking his head out of another stall. Come Preakness day, they will be rivals, not barn pals. Baffert announced Monday that Concert Tour, considered one of the heavy hitters in the 3-year-old division before he flopped in the Arkansas Derby, is Preakness bound.

“You know what? It’s equal opportunity in my barn,” Baffert said by cellphone from California on Monday night. “If a horse is doing well, we run him. That’s the way it works.”

And, apparently, Concert Tour is doing pretty good. Before Baffert flew home on Sunday, he watched Concert Tour work five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Churchill Downs. Baffert said he will fly back to Kentucky this weekend and be on hand when Concert Tour will have his final Preakness work on Sunday.

Concert Tour, a son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, started his career with three victories before getting beat as the 1-5 favorite in the Arkansas Derby. He finished third, nearly three lengths behind the upset winner, Super Stock.

After that, Baffert and owners Gary and Mary West decided to pass on the Kentucky Derby. Baffert said the Wests left it up to him as to whether or not to move to the Preakness.

“After the Arkansas Derby, we just weren’t feeling it,” Baffert said.

What will make this Preakness very interesting is that Medina Spirit, who upset the Kentucky Derby at odds of 12-1, and Concert Tour are both horses that like to run on the lead. Something will have to give.

“He is a speed horse,” Baffert said about Concert Tour. “Medina is going to be a target now. I don’t think he was going to get away (in the Preakness) with the lead. We know what Medina likes and doesn’t like. We’ve got him figured out. We are all good with it.”

This isn’t something new for Baffert. In the 2015 Preakness, he ran Dortmund in the Preakness against eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Dortmund finished fourth in that Preakness. He was also third in that year’s Kentucky Derby behind American Pharoah.

“You have to win the Preakness before you can win the Triple Crown,” said Baffert, who has won the Preakness seven times. “We want to find out what kind of horse (Concert Tour) is. I want to see if he has a big one in him. I don’t want to keep Gary and Mary West from having a chance to win a big race like this.”

The Wests were the owners of Maximum Security, who won the 2019 Kentucky Derby only to be disqualified for interference in the most controversial Derby ever.

Concert Tour will likely be ridden by Joel Rosario in the Preakness. He rode him in the Arkansas Derby but then ended up on Rock Your World in the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert said the two horses will van to Baltimore from Kentucky on either Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Trainer Bob Baffert, right celebrates with Leona Velazquez, left, jockey John Velazquez, second from left, Jill Baffet after winning the 147th running of The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Race Track Saturday May 1, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo Special to the Times Union by Skip Dickstein
Trainer Bob Baffert, right celebrates with Leona Velazquez, left, jockey John Velazquez, second from left, Jill Baffet after winning the 147th running of The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Race Track Saturday May 1, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo Special to the Times Union by Skip DicksteinSkip Dickstein